|The condom is one of the oldest forms of contraception. Its
history and use can be traced back thousands of years.
It is believed that a form of modern-day condoms were used by
the Egyptians as far back as 1,000 B.C.
The earliest evidence of condom use in Europe are scenes from
cave paintings at Combarelles in France. Dated 100 to 200 AD.
The first known published description and trials regarding
prophylactic condom use were recorded by the Italian Gabrielle Fallopius in the 1500's. He
claimed to have invented a sheath made of linen and conducted trials amongst 1,100 men
using the condom - none of who became infected with syphilis.
The origin of the word 'condom' is still unknown. Folklore
attributes the invention to Dr. Condom or Conton, who was at the court of King Charles II
in the 1600's. It is more likely, however, that the name derives from the Latin 'condus',
The condom, made of animal gut, became well known and
increased in popularity in the 1700's. Literature of that time suggests that the condom's
contraceptive (rather than just prophylactic) properties had already been realised. By
1766 many shops were producing handbills and advertisements.
Japanese are known to have used two types of condom. The
'Kawagata' or 'Kyotai' was made of thin leather and the 'Kabutogata' was made from
tortoiseshell or horn.
Documentation also suggests that legendary 19th Century lover
Casanova was a regular user of this type of contraception. He referred to condoms as
'Redingote Anglaise' (English Riding Coat).
The rubber condom was developed shortly after the creation of
vulcanized rubber in the 1840's, by Goodyear and Hancock. Vulcanisation is the method or
process of treating crude rubber with sulphur and subjecting it to intense heat. This
process turns the rubber into a strong elastic material.
In the 1930's liquid latex manufacturing superseded crepe
rubber. It is still the basis for manufacture today.
In the 1990's new technology considerably improved the condom
and enabled the production of far more sophisticated versions.
and now in the new millenium the
new condom revolution is making record waves in the history of the condom and the
condoms future is looking brighter than ever.